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Species Guide
A photo of a Rock Wren (Salpinctes obsoletus)
Rock Wren

Rock Wren

Salpinctes obsoletus

The Rock Wren, Salpinctes obsoletus, is a diminutive member of the wren family, distinguished by its grey-brown upperparts adorned with minute black and white spots. The underparts are a soft pale grey, transitioning to a light brown rump. A notable light grey line graces the area above the eye, and the bird's bill is long, slender, and slightly decurved. Its tail, barred and lengthy, complements the dark legs, completing the bird's agile appearance.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the Rock Wren, look for its characteristic grey-brown plumage with speckled back and wings, and the lighter grey underparts. The bird's long, barred tail and the distinctive light grey supercilium are key features. The Rock Wren measures between 4.9-5.9 inches in length, with a wingspan of 8.7-9.4 inches, and weighs a mere 0.5-0.6 ounces.


Rock Wrens are found in arid, rocky environments, often frequenting canyons and outcrops where they can forage and nest among the stones.


This species is native to western North America, extending through Mexico and reaching into Central America. Northern populations are known to migrate to warmer regions during colder months, while southern populations tend to be permanent residents.


These birds are ground foragers, actively searching for food around and beneath objects. They use their thin bills to probe crevices, displaying a remarkable dexterity in their hunt for insects and spiders.

Song & Calls

The Rock Wren's song is a distinctive trill, which becomes increasingly complex and varied during the nesting season, serving as a beacon amidst the rocky landscapes they inhabit.


During the breeding season, Rock Wrens construct cup nests within crevices or cavities, typically among rocks. They exhibit a preference for dry, rocky locations and can be found breeding from southwestern Canada all the way to Costa Rica.

Similar Species

While unique in its genus, the Rock Wren may be confused with other wren species. However, its habitat preference and distinctive markings generally aid in its identification.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Rock Wren primarily consists of insects and spiders, which they skillfully extract from their hiding places using their slender bills.

Conservation status

The Rock Wren is currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, indicating a stable population without significant threats at this time.

Rock Wren Sounds

Recorded by: © 
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